Rat bait boxes in Washington Square Park - October 7th, 2012

I found three rodent bait boxes in Washington Square Park today. There could very well be more but I saw three. The park is using the Bell Protecta LP Rodent Station model. The photo of the box below is from the Bell Laboratories web site

Per their description:
"Patented interior baffles lead rodents directly to the feeding receptacle in PROTECTA LP which can hold Bell's BLOX and Super-Size BLOX baits, tracking powders, liquid baits, cereal baits and place pacs. BLOX fit on horizontal and vertical bait securing rods that help keep bait securely in the station."

"CONTRAC All-Weather BLOX is a single-feeding anticoagulant rodenticide containing the active ingredient, Bromadiolone. Unsurpassed in rodent acceptance and control, CONTRAC BLOX is an excellent clean-out and maintenance bait to control mice and rats, including warfarin-resistant Norway rats."

There are different varieties of BLOX bait but they all contain Bromadiolone or Brodifacoum as their active agents:

A caution at the link above:
"ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS: This product is toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife. Predatory and scavenging mammals and birds might be poisoned if they feed upon animals that have eaten bait."

The active ingredient, Bromadiolone, is the anticoagulant poison that was confirmed to have killed some of the dead Red-tailed Hawks earlier this year (and is the same poison that killed Pale Male's mate Lima and sickened two of his offspring this summer). 

See the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation necropsy here:

Below are the bait boxes I saw today.

Box along Washington Square South, between LaGuardia Place and Washington Square East. It was located across the street from Bobst Library (where the Hawk nest is):

The next box I found was located along Washington Square East, between Washington Place and Waverly Place:

The last box I found was along Washington Square West, between Washington Place and Washington Square South:

Note all the peanut shells by the bait box. The peanuts were eaten by either squirrels or rats (or both). Feeding of squirrels in the park is permitted but doing so undoubtedly feeds the rats as well. Even if the Park was to change that policy, people would continue to feed the squirrels unless they were ticketed and heavily fined for each offense. And I doubt the Parks Department has the manpower or the concern to enforce such policies.

Please write or call the interim administrator of Washington Square Park, Ralph Musolino (Park Manager for Manhattan District 1 & 2, NYC) at Ralph.Musolino@parks.nyc.gov or leave him a message at 212.797.3142 with your concerns and opposition to the presence of the rodenticide in the park.  

Veronica M. White, NYC Parks Commissioner, can be reached at Veronica.White@parks.nyc.gov.

As I posted on October 5th:
"Mr. Musolino's last email to me (received on October 1st) stated, "Thank you for your email regarding Washington square park and the rodent issue.  We are aware of the situation and are taking the proper precautions." I immediately responded thanking him and asked what he meant by precautions but I haven't heard back from him or his colleague yet."

I still have not heard from Mr. Musolino and have no clue what the "proper precautions" might be considering this rodenticide looks to be present in the park now. If Bobby or Rosie eat prey that ingested the poison, they are as good as dead if not captured and treated at the first signs of illness. Think of how difficult capturing Rosie or Bobby would be. 

I read that it could take from one to five days for rats or mice to die after ingesting the poison. That's plenty of time for the Hawks to capture and eat them. And Red-tailed Hawks eat carrion so Rosie or Bobby would probably not hesitate to eat a dead rat lying on the ground.

Bobby and Rosie were not around during my visit to the park. I had to leave once the rain started, two hours after I arrived.